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Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Monday, 22 November 2010

Cash-strapped Crusaders hit by redundancies


Financially stricken Crusaders have released three non-playing members of staff, with players out of contract at the end of November to be let go too.

A director of the club, an assistant coach and the south Wales-based kit man have all been made redundant.

But administrators say that players will be paid for November after the Rugby Football League released funding.

Joint administrator Simon Weir says talks are ongoing to try to secure a new buyer for the Super League side.

Current chairman Ian Roberts, together with fellow shareholders Geoff Moss and Paul Atkinson, have put together a business plan for a new company to take over the club, probably operating as Welsh Crusaders.

The Wrexham-based side entered administration earlier this month, saying that inherited debt had "made the business untenable".

After meeting the administrator last week, Roberts said he was hopeful of raising the funds to keep the team going.

He also asked the RFL to show leniency over a possible six-point penalty for next season.

"We may be faced with a couple of points reduction, but I've put in a plea for clemency," Roberts told BBC Sport Wales.

"What we inherited has sort of penalised us enough. It's not the fault of the players, coaches or management.

"With the team we have, it's essentially the same as last year and I think we'll be up there going for a play-off place again."

The Crusaders have had a winding-up order from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs over unpaid tax dismissed. Earlier in November they had announced they had repaid the amount owing.

Joint administrators Peter O'Hara and Weir were appointed, O'Hara indicating that he was hopeful that the club could be saved.

"There was a high level of support and enthusiasm towards Super League rugby in its first season in Wrexham which exceeded the club's expectations," O'Hara said.

"We are currently pursuing a number of options and are talking to interested parties and the RFL in the hope that a solution can be found to the club's current difficulties which would enable it to go forward and maintain rugby league in Wales."

The club's financial problems could count against them during the next round of Super League licence applications which take place in 2011, although the League would be loathe to lose one of its expansion clubs.

Although Crusaders had seemingly dealt with their tax problem, the Wrexham-based club also faced legal action from the Rugby League Players Association over claims of missing pension payments to players.

The Welsh side impressed on the field last season as they reached the Super League play-offs under coach Brian Noble.

Former Great Britain coach Noble took over from John Dixon when the Crusaders changed ownership, moving to Wrexham from Bridgend early in 2010 because of financial problems.

Crusaders had endured a dismal first season in Super League in 2009, finishing bottom of the table and having six players deported over a breach of visa regulations.

Noble has since stepped down, with his assistant from last season - Wales head coach Iestyn Harris - taking over the reins.

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see also
Club's winding-up order dismissed
17 Nov 10 |  North East Wales
Raiders complete Thackray swoop
12 Nov 10 |  Rugby League
Johnson pens Crusaders contract
11 Nov 10 |  Crusaders
Crusaders secure Reardon signing
09 Nov 10 |  Crusaders
Harris in for Noble at Crusaders
08 Nov 10 |  Crusaders
Noble could remain at Crusaders
12 Sep 10 |  Crusaders
Noble unveiled as Crusaders coach
14 Oct 09 |  Crusaders
Crusaders complete Wrexham move
15 Dec 09 |  Crusaders
Six Crusaders are to be deported
18 Aug 09 |  Crusaders
Crusaders celebrate Super League status
22 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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